Soaring levels of consumer confidence boost spending

VAT receipts for the year to the end of October are 8.2 per cent ahead of last year

Soaring levels of consumer confidence have begun to drive increased consumer spending, according to the latest Consumer Market Monitor. Photo: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Soaring levels of consumer confidence have begun to drive increased consumer spending, according to the latest Consumer Market Monitor. Photo: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Soaring levels of consumer confidence have begun to drive increased consumer spending, according to the latest Consumer Market Monitor published by UCD Smurfit School and the Marketing Institute.

Data from the monitor indicates that the consumer economy in Ireland is now showing strong evidence of a broad-based recovery. It said sales of new cars, which are a leading indicator in the consumer economy, experienced a major turnaround, with 86,894 new private cars sold in the year to the end of September, up 30 per cent on last year.

Retail sales also improved, with sales volume excluding the motor trade up by 3.4 per cent for the year to the end of September, and value increasing by 1.5 per cent.

Sales were particularly strong in household goods, with furniture and lighting up 19 per cent in the third quarter and electrical goods up 11.5 per cent.

The monitor said VAT receipts for the year to the end of October are 8.2 per cent ahead of last year, and 3.8 per cent ahead of target.

UCD Smurfit School professor of marketing Mary Lambkin said retail sales have turned a corner and are back on a growth path, although off a very low base.

“Disposable incomes are at last beginning to show modest growth as a result of jobs growth and this, coupled with greater availability of credit, is leading to accelerated spending on many categories of goods and services,” she added.

The Central Bank is projecting an increase of 1.4 per cent in the volume of consumption for 2014 as a whole, and a slightly stronger growth of 1.6 per cent for 2015.